Country of biodiversity. This is how Brazil can be seen from an international standpoint. This natural wealth, plus science and technology - elements that are part of the DNA of National Education and Research Network (RNP) - in the form of a technological solution was one of the highlights of the last issue of CONNECT Magazine, the magazine of GÉANT, the main European academic network. The pages of the magazine dedicated to the topic spoke about the Brazilian Biodiversity Information System (SiBBr) and AdaptaBrasil MCTI* platform.
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In Brazil, RNP develops solutions for biodiversity and climatic impacts
In international landscape, Brazil is known as carnaval and soccer country, but in fact it is one of main biodiversity repositories. The tropical territory in continental proportions holds the largest genetic variability worldwide. It is estimated that 20% of global biodiversity is located in this South American country. About 48 thousand species of fungi and plants and 115 thousand known types of animals make up Brazilian flora and fauna.
What explains this huge biodiversity is the great ecological and climatic variation with different regional characteristics. In all, there are six types of climate and six different land biomes. It is possible to observe, for example, the contrast between the northern equatorial rainy climate and the semi-arid Northeast, with low rainfall rates. And, of course, the forests are a natural heritage: in Brazil, there is the largest tropical rain forest in the world, the Amazon Forest; the largest floodplain, Pantanal; and the rainforest of Atlantic Forest.
Consider now this combination of all this natural wealth, plus science and technology. The last elements of this equation are intrinsic to Rede Nacional de Ensino e Pesquisa (RNP) [National Education and Research Network], which has been driving innovation, research and education in Brazil for more than 30 years. The combination of these components, in order to offer data and information to support public policies, structured two of the many solutions developed by RNP, with support and coordination by the Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovation and Communications (MCTIC), institution to which the social organization is connected.
One of the ongoing initiatives is Brazilian Biodiversity Information System (SiBBr). It is the first national technological infrastructure that integrates and provides scientific information on the variety of species and ecosystems coming from different sources in Brazil and abroad. SiBBr provides information on the 165 thousand known species, with more than 15.6 million records. On the online platform the accessed data can guide governmental decisions related to sustainability and promote knowledge about biodiversity.
In addition to RNP and MCTIC, the system has been supported by UN Environment Program (UNEP) and the Global Environment Fund (GEF) based on the Atlas of Living Australia Platform (ALA). Developed in open code, the platform uses international standards, which facilitate data sharing and can be adapted and evolved according to the needs of each country. Abroad, SiBBr is the Brazilian hub in the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), an initiative that congregates data on biodiversity from more than 60 countries.
In addition to biodiversity, Brazil is rich in climatic variety and centralizes the observed and the planned impact of climate changes in the country on the AdaptaBrasil MCTI* platform. It integrates information that enables progress of the analysis on the observed and the planned impact of climate changes on the national territory. This project is also carried out by RNP and MTIC and the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais (INPE) [National Spatial Research Institute] is also involved. With the proposal, decision-makers can evaluate the main variables and the cause-effect relations in the climate change context and propose adaptation measures.
Mayors and governors will be more able to contribute to the protection of biodiversity, foresee crises and natural disasters – such as drought, landslides, floods or desertification – in addition to developing more correct and conscious environmental, economic and social public policies. In final phase of development, the platform may be released still on 2020.
The Solution Management Assistant Director of RNP, Antônio Carlos Nunes, who followed the management of projects, comments, “Both SiBBr and ImpactaClima enable fundamental information on biodiversity and climate, respectively, making it possible for researchers, public administrators and society as a whole to access to rich data on preservation and climate, with potential breakdown for the creation, analysis and structuring of public policies”. The projects contribute to sustainability and environmental preservation of the country’s natural wealth which is not only a Brazilian asset, but a global one too.
* After article was published on CONNECT magazine, the platform named ImpactaClima became AdaptaBrasil MCTI.